Posted: 2014-04-02 13:33:08
Updated: 2014-04-02 14:57:06
(CNN) - Parents posting all those photos of their children on Facebook can usually count on receiving a steady stream of "Likes" and comments along the lines of, "Awww!" or "OMG she's gotten so big!"
However, Tara Taylor's photo of her 3-year-old daughter, Rylee, received something much different -- and much more valuable: some well-founded concern from her friends.
In the picture, which Taylor posted because Rylee had done her own hair, the 3-year-old's left eye has a white circle in the middle, not unlike the reflection you sometimes see from using the flash. But two of Taylor's friends saw something else.
"They said, 'Hey, I'm sure it's nothing. It's probably the lighting, but your daughter's eye is glowing and you might want to have it checked out because it's a sign there could be an issue with her eye,'" Taylor told HLN Memphis affiliate WREG.
Turns out her friends were right.
Taylor took her daughter to a retina specialist, who diagnosed the little girl with Coats' disease. The rare condition causes full or partial vision loss, typically in one eye, and early detection is key to treating it.
Taylor can credit her Facebook post for that.
"If caught early, some level of vision can typically be restored. If not treated until its later stages, complete loss of vision can occur," according to the Coats' Disease Foundation.
The group says fewer than 200,000 people have the disorder, which often is diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 8. There is no cure, but the foundation's website, addressing parents, says, "With your support, as well as that of doctors, therapists and teachers, your child should be able to do everything a fully sighted child can do."
WREG reported that Rylee now has procedures done every few months on her left eye to help maintain the vision she still has.